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Don’t be Afraid- it is easy to make a tagine and impress your friends that you just came from Marrakesh or from this blog!

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So if you can boil water you can make couscous and if you can pour water or broth over sautéed chicken thighs you can do a tagine!

Ethnic cuisine is way up on the list for low calorie and good carbohydrate recipes. With lots of vegetables and fruit, Moroccan cuisine incorporates meats like beef and chicken, with apricots, dates and plums. The side dishes of vegetables, including eggplant, zucchini and red peppers. There is a grand dish called bastilla, which is a main dish meets dessert.  Made with phyllo, cinnamon and chicken, the article showcases this Moroccan dish written by food critic, Dominic Armato for the AZRepublic.

As a dietitian, I am always looking for innovative dishes that don’t break the bank on calories and high carbs, and this cuisine is worth trying.

assorted-tagines-2The spices are easy pantry items like cinnamon , cumin and turmeric alongside fresh red peppers, carrots and cilantro , all obtainable from your supermarket. The expert on Moroccan food is Paula Wolfert, a professional chef and writer who inspired me to try this cuisine years ago when I wanted a new twist on chicken and her tagine recipes were delicious.

I’m back from Montreal and I like to tell you about,a restaurant we ate at, La Khaima. I visited that cool city a couple of weeks ago and the restaurants are fabulous there. Had a wonderful Moroccan meal. The owner is a native Moroccan chef, Malik , who creates all the dishes, and illustrates what I find so great about the cuisine-freshness, low fat and  great combinations of flavors, sweet and savory. They have it right.

I took a picture of La Khaima beef tagine with plums and dates alongside another dish- chicken and olives with couscous!

We are featuring 2 products of couscous today. Each of these is available in your supermarket and is the easiest dish to prepare. Couscous is tiny pasta (Moroccan pasta) which is rehydrated with boiling water.

red-mill-coucouscouscous

Here’s the recipe:

COUSCOUS

  • 1 cup of couscous
  • 1 /2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water

Boil water in a medium saucepan, and pour the cousous into the water. Take off the heat and let stand 10 minutes covered. Uncover, and fluff with a fork. Serve with steamed vegetables or the chicken tagine which follows.

Gary made this dish for a Saturday dinner,  an apricot tagine adapted from Gourmet Magazine Field Notes  May 2006. 

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CHICKEN WITH APRICOTS

  • 6 chicken thighs with skin on
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 cup of dried apricots or 6 fresh apricots pitted and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 sprigs of cilantro
  • 2 cups of water or broth
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

Mix together the spices in a bowl and coat the chicken thighs with the salt and pepper and  spices.  Heat the olive oil in a medium size skillet and add the chicken thighs, cooking until golden brown on each side for 10 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a dish,  drain partially the fat from  the pan and add onions, garlic, cilantro and chicken and 1 1/2 cups of water and cook for 30-40 minutes covered until the meat falls from the bone. In a separate pan add the apricots, honey and 1/2 cup of water and cook until apricots are soft.

  Add the apricots to the chicken cook for an additional 15 minutes, remove from heat and serve over couscous and sprinkle almonds over the top for garnish.

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